Local hospitals suspend routine visiting due to coronavirus
After the first cases were confirmed in Michigan, health agencies in Isabella County are taking precautions due to the coronavirus outbreak.
On Tuesday, March 10, Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in response to the first cases of the virus in the state of Michigan. It was later announced that the amount of confirmed cases in Michigan had risen to 16.
“Think about those at risk of severe illness," Whitmer said. "Think about our most vulnerable populations. We want to take every precaution necessary to keep people safe and keep yourself safe and keep our communities safe."
Now local government entities and hospitals are preparing to possibility of the spread of the virus, including in Isabella County.
According to an article on Mid-Michigan Health’s website published March 2, the hospital was taking precautions due to the flu and concerns of the coronavirus at the their medical centers, including the one in Mount Pleasant. These include travel screenings at patient registration areas, implementing a process for safe testing, and mapping isolation procedures. Only people without illness, or symptoms of one, will be allowed to visit patients at the locations.
These restrictions will be in place for the rest of the flu season, the article said.
McLaren Central Michigan hospital has suspended all routine visiting at the hospital, said McLaren Director of Marketing and Business Development Rachel Blizzard. Certain exceptions will be made, including those over the age of 16 (except in extraordinary circumstances), a partner or birth supporter for a pregnant woman, parents of pediatric patients, and those visiting an intensive care patient (one per patient. All visitors must be healthy adults and remain in the patients room for the duration of their visit, she said.
Melissa DeRoche, emergency preparedness coordinator for the Central Michigan District Health Department, said it’s currently communicating with the state and Central Michigan University on the outbreak. The department will continue to provide information and education once available.
According to a Central Michigan District Health Department press release, they are encouraging residents to take actions in response to the outbreak to reduce impact on the community. These include:
· Comply with public health requests.
· Get information from credible sources.
· Wash hands regularly.
· Use hand sanitizer that’s 60% alcohol or more if soap and water is not available.
· Stay home when sick.
· Support family, friends and neighbors when needed.
· Clean all “high touch” surfaces.
· Cover coughs and sneezes.
· Avoid touching you face.
· Be current on vaccines
· Plan now on how to care for loved ones if they get sick.
· Maintain a supply of non-perishable food.
“At this time, we are encouraging our communities to prepare, not panic,” the press release said.”
Mount Pleasant Director of Public Relations Darcy Orlik said the city is recommending residents to follow many of these health steps. The city will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with local health officials. Both Blizzard and DeRoche said there are currently no potential cases in Isabella County, but both McLaren and the district health department are monitoring for the potential of cases.